Nemea was a religious sanctuary in the northern Peloponnese of Greece where pan-Hellenic athletic games were held every two years from 573 BCE until 271 BCE, after which, the Games were definitively moved to Argos. Situated near the foothills of the Arcadian mountains, 333m above sea level in a long narrow valley, Nemea has cool summers and harsh winters... [continue reading]
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The Panhellenic Games of Nemea were held every two years from 573 BCE to 271 BCE with a brief transferal to Argos between ca. 415BC and ca 330 BCE. Originally, they commemorated the death of Opheltes. The stadium visible today dates from 330-320 BCE. The clay surface running track measured 600 ancient feet (178 m). The capacity could have been up to 30,000... [continue reading]
The 'Apodyterion' or athletes locker room was where athletes would have made their final preparations before entering the stadium via a passageway and tunnel linking the two. The building originally surrounded a small court on three sides by Doric columns. 330-320 BCE.
The pan-Hellenic mythological hero Hercules (or Herakles) was famed for his great strength and endurance and celebrated as an extraordinary mortal who, through success in seemingly impossible labours, won his immortal place amongst the Olympian gods. Being the greatest of Greek mythological heroes, he has been ascribed a multitude of adventures and heroic exploits... [continue reading]
This Attic vase shows Hercules wrestling the Nemean Lion in one of his 12 labours. Late 6th, early 5th century BCE. Athena looks on from the right.(Archaeological Museum, Milan).
published on 26 April 2012
Map of the main religious sanctuaries of classical Greece. The following gods' sanctuaries are marked in colour: Aphrodite, Apollo, Artemis, Asclepius, Athena, Dionysius, Demeter, Hera, Poseidon, Zeus.
published on 12 March 2013
That there is a connection between warfare and sport is evident enough. Competitive games, in the form of contests between individuals or teams, imitate war in a more or less conscious manner. This fact is most obviously reflected in the language of sport. When sports writers use terms like catastrophe, tragedy, massacre, or annihilation, people sometimes... [continue reading]
Restored stone table on which were placed the sacrificial offerings to the Gods in Greek religious practice. One tray was for the 'Epidaurian Gods' (Apollo & Esklepios), the other for Zeus. (c. 300 BCE). Nemea Archaeological Museum.
In the ancient Greek world, the word stadium or stadion referred to a measurement of distance, a foot-race, and the place where the race was held and observed by spectators. Greek sporting events were closely connected to religion, and for this reason Games were held at religiously important sites or sanctuaries. The competitions, held every two or four... [continue reading]
Constructed in 330-320 BCE, the entrance to the stadium is mostly hidden from view from the spectators in the stadium and the athletes entrance would have been all the more dramatic.